Sometimes it is much easier to keep things simple. We love products that can serve multiple functions and are good for you. Read on for details on the natural products we always keep stocked and how they can be used as part of a minimalist beauty routine. We also recommend this routine for anyone with sensitive skin. Single ingredient products make it much simpler for you to know if it is safe or not.
First up, the rundown of the products we love the most!
Vegetable Glycerin is a clear liquid derived from plant oils. Pure vegetable glycerin has a sweet taste and can even be used in food. It is commonly used in beauty and skin care products as a softener and moisturizer because it is a humectant; which basically means it attracts moisture from the air and pulls it in.
Uses: use in place of or on top of body lotion. Apply before bed for sensual and sweet skin (you and your partner will thank us later for this one), mix 1 part vegetable glycerin with 4 parts water in a spray bottle and use as a curl refresher.
Caution: Using humectants on your hair can be a “Catch-22” because if the environment is too humid then the humectant can draw in too much moisture causing the hair strands to swell; this is particularly a concern for those with highly porous hair. On the flip side, if the environment is too dry the humectant could pull moisture (i.e. water molecules) out of your hair. Once again, this is more a concern for those with highly porous hair. Pay very close attention to how your hair reacts or feels year-round to determine the optimal time for you to use humectants.
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is an all time favorite because of its multiple uses in personal care and cooking. We mainly use it for skincare and hair care. Coconut oil is effective because it penetrates even the thickest skin and hair to keep you moisturized. While we pretty much use coconut oil all over our bodies, some people can only use it for specific purposes (i.e. in their hair, but not as a face oil). There are several opinions on the effectiveness of coconut oil. This product is not for everyone. Please do a patch test before using it extensively and/or do not use if you have known allergies.
Uses: apply to a cotton swab or cotton ball and use as an eye makeup remover. Massage into skin to remove makeup. Apply to body as a moisturizer. Apply to clean, wet hair and place a cap on. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse. Coconut oil also offers UV protection. We use it in conjunction with a natural sunscreen. It also works wonders as an alternative option for shaving cream.
Caution: Coconut oil is comedogenic (i.e. clogs pores) and should not be used as a facial oil by those with acne-prone skin. Some good alternative facial oils are rosehip seed oil, grapeseed soil, evening primrose oil, and apricot oil.
Rose Water is honestly just a refreshing gift from nature. It’s refreshing scent is perfect as part of your morning routine. Rose water is created through a steam distillation process. It’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it a great option for everyday use. We love it, because it is an effective toner for dry skin.
Uses: face toner, makeup setting spray, add 1 part rose water to 1 part shampoo or conditioner and use for hair. Can be used alone as a scalp rinse.
Shea Butter is a moisturizing beast, but we’ll admit, it can be a bit of work to use. Our preference is to mix it with other products for a maxed out moisturizing solution. This luscious butter is loaded with vitamins A, E and F. It also helps to stimulate collagen production and is another natural sun protectant.
Uses: sun protectant, lip balm, eye cream, and hair cream. We also make our our hair and body cream with a combination of 6 parts shea butter with 3 parts each coconut oil and olive oil.
Organic Honey is our sweet sauce to soothe away any stress from a long day or week. We’ve gushed about honey before in our Fad or Fixture and DIY Honey posts. The truth is, it’s a luxurious natural antibacterial (fights bacteria) and humectant (locks in moisture). Check our our previous posts and try some of the uses below.
Uses: face masks, hair deep conditioner, antibacterial skin treatment.
Rice may come as a surprise to you, but we love finding ways to use everyday items more effectively. This is definitely one of our most sustainable and simple personal care options. If you read our post on Why the Japanese will always be loyal to rice, then you know there are a multitude of benefits. If not, check out the post to learn more.
Uses: rice water as a face toner and hair rinse and use rice bran oil as a sun protectant.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the icing on the cake of multipurpose minimalist solutions. It can be used in combination with the products above or on it’s own from head to toe. It is also a good alternative to coconut oil if you are protein or nut sensitive. Since olive oil is more than 80% oleic acid, it penetrates the skin similar to coconut oil and helps to reduce the signs of aging.
Uses: hair and body moisturizer and makeup remover.
Caution: Olive oil is comedogenic (i.e. clogs pores) and should not be used as a facial oil by those with acne-prone skin. Acne-prone skin is high in oleic acid but lacks linoleic acid; adding more oleic acid based products (i.e. olive oil) will only further throw off the balance.Some good alternative facial oils are rosehip seed oil, grapeseed oil, evening primrose oil, and apricot oil.